CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 25 May 2019

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True heroism is self-giving, compassionate and meek pope says

VATICAN (CNS): “A world that looks to the future without a mother’s gaze is shortsighted,” Pope Francis said in his homily for the Mass of feast of Mother of God, at St. Peter’s Basilica, on January 1.
 
“It may well increase its profits, but it will no longer see others as children. It will make money, but not for everyone. We will all dwell in the same house, but not as brothers and sisters,” he said.
 
“In today’s fragmented world, where we risk losing our bearings, a mother’s embrace is essential,” the pope said, observing, “How much dispersion and solitude there is all around us! The world is completely connected, yet seems increasingly disjointed. We need to entrust ourselves to our Mother.”
 
He went on to say that too many people forget they are beloved children and instead “live in anger and indifference to everything! How many, sad to say, react to everything and everyone with bitterness and malice!”
 
The pope remarked that, “showing oneself to be ‘malicious’ even seems at times to be a sign of strength. Yet it is nothing more than weakness. We need to learn from mothers that heroism is shown in self-giving, strength in compassion, wisdom in meekness.”
 
He urged people to begin 2019 holding on to the “amazement” they should have experienced at Christmas, amazement that God was born a baby, “held in the arms of a woman who feeds her creator.”
 
Pope Francis said, “God has become one with humanity forever. God and man, always together, that is the good news of this new year. God is no distant lord, dwelling in splendid isolation above the heavens, but love incarnate, born like us of a mother, in order to become a brother to each of us.”
 
Jesus himself “pours out upon humanity a new tenderness,” which helps people “understand more fully God’s love, which is both paternal and maternal, like that of a mother who never stops believing in her children and never abandons them,” the pope said.
 
He stressed that for Catholics, Mary “is not an optional accessory: she has to be welcomed into our life” because Jesus entrusted her to his disciples and his disciples to her as their mother.
 
“She is the queen of peace, who triumphs over evil and leads us along paths of goodness, who restores unity to her children, who teaches us compassion,” Pope Francis said. 
 
He prayed that Mary would “take us by the hand. Clinging to you, we will pass safely through the straits of history.”
 
Later, speaking to the tens of thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus, the pope spoke about World Peace Day.
 
He pointed out that Mary shows to the world her son, the prince of peace, saying, “He is the blessing for every person and the whole human family. He is the source of grace, mercy and peace.” 
 
Referencing his message for World Peace Day (Sunday Examiner, 30 December 2018), the pope reminded people, “We must not think politics is reserved to those who govern. We are all responsible for the life of the community, of the common good and politics is good to the degree that everyone does his or her part in the service of peace.”
 
Pope Francis prayed that Mary would help all people learn to look at the world and each other as she does, providing for people’s needs, loving them and leading them to Jesus.
 
“God-with-us, Emmanuel, loves us despite our mistakes, our sins and the way we treat our world. God believes in mankind, because its first and preeminent member is his own mother,” he said.
 
The Church, which is called to be a mother, must also be renewed and filled with amazement at the fact that it is “the dwelling place of the living God” and “a mother who gives birth to her children,” the pope stressed.
 
Without that awareness, the Church risks turning into “a beautiful museum of the past,” he said. 

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